This year, the Mock Trial club coincides with the Practical Law elective. Students may also participate in Trial, even if they couldn't take the class. The Google Classroom can be accessed by students here.
This Year's Case:
The People of the State of Michigan v. Leslie Jones
Freedom of Speech and Expression are fundamental pillars of our democracy. The forefathers encouraged political discourse and involvement from “the People.” From Charlottesville to the NFL, our society is experiencing dramatic expressions of these fundamental rights almost on a daily basis. But, what are the limits to that discourse and expression? How far can someone go before their actions devolve from passionate protest to criminal conduct?
Leslie Jones is a rapper who has begun protesting the actions of a religious group called the New Believers. Leslie is concerned that the actions of the New Believers in the city are hurting the citizens of Ludington Springs. Leslie formed a group called the Concerned Ludington Citizens to protest against the New Believers. After a passionate protest rally were Leslie spoke and performed her song “Burn Em’ Out,” the New Believers’ compound mysteriously caught fired and burned down. Leslie was observed at the scene of the fire.
Leslie is charged with inciting a riot and arson. This years’ case is a criminal prosecution involving whether Leslie’s exercising freedom of speech and expression was actually “criminal inciting to riot” and whether the passionate defendant crossed the line from activist to arsonist.
What is Mock Trial?
A yearly club running from November to March, Mock Trial can be described as follows:
"A Mock Trial is designed to reenact much of what might take place in a trial court. Students take on the roles of attorneys and witnesses and compete against each other in real courtrooms in front of real judges and lawyers. But while the students take on roles, there is no set script (with the exception of some elementary grade trials). As in a debate, participants must adjust to the strategies employed by the opposing side. In general, mock trials draw upon historical events, trials of contemporary interest, school or classroom situations, or hypothetical and entertaining fact patterns. " More information can be found at the Michian Center for Civic Education Website
While this club requires a lot of initial reading, writing, and analyzation, students find it to highly benefit them, especially in regards to public speaking, organization, and writing compoisition. Anyone interested in law, public speaking, debate, or acting is a great fit for this club.